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Watercooler: Michelle Little of Pittsfield Wins Berkshire United Way Car
12:19PM / Monday, June 04, 2018
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Michelle Little, winner of the Berkshire United Way car, JamieEllen Moncecchi of Greylock Federal Credit Union, Tary Johnson of the Johnson dealerships and Jennifer Kerwood of Berkshire United Way pose for a photo on Wednesday, May 16, following the presentation of a new Ford Fiesta to Michelle. Michelle’s winning ticket was drawn as part of the Driving Our Community forward celebration on Thursday, May 10.

The winner is ...

Michelle Little of Pittsfield won the Berkshire United Way car on May 10 at The Johnson Dealerships. The 2018 Ford Fiesta was sponsored by The Johnson Dealerships and Greylock Federal Credit Union as an incentive for donations to Berkshire United Way's 2017 campaign. This marks the 18nth year the two companies have participated in this giveaway, their contributions totaling more than $200,000.

Berkshire United Way board member Mike Stoddard, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Greylock Federal Credit Union, drew the winning ticket and left Little a voicemail during the Driving Our Community Forward event, informing her that she had won.

Berkshire United Way currently invests over $1.8 million in the community.  Working with community partners throughout the county, the organization impacts the lives of more than 15,000 Berkshire County residents. The car promotion is an effort to motivate people to give, either through their workplace campaign or as an individual donor. A list of past winners can be found on the Berkshire United Way website.

In addition to the car drawing, representatives from the Face the Facts, a coalition to reduce teen pregnancy, spoke about the collaborative efforts of Berkshire United Way donors, volunteers and community partners in reducing the teen birth rate in Berkshire County. According to the most recent data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, between 2010 and 2015, Berkshire County's teen birth rate decreased by 52 percent, exceeding the coalition's goal five years ahead of schedule. Speakers included Katrina Mattson of Tapestry Health, Anne-Marie Carpenter of Pittsfield Public Schools, Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Kristine Hazzard of Berkshire United Way.


Afternoon On

Berkshire Bank will once again close all locations at noon on Tuesday, June 5, for its third annual Xtraordinary Day, "The Power of Giving Back." Xtraordinary Day provides all Berkshire Bank employees the opportunity to volunteer in communities the bank and its affiliates serve. This year's Xtraordinary Day is set to focus on more than 70 community projects with approximately 90 percent employee participation across the country. Last year, employees helped 75 different nonprofit organizations through 65 service projects and directly impacted more than 400,000 individuals.  
As the Berkshire Bank footprint continues to grow, so does this year's Xtraordinary Day, which benefits nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Some of this year's community projects in Berkshire County inlcude: Habitat for Humanity Multi-Site Build in partnership with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity; assembling teacher appreciation kits at Farmington River Elementary; landscaping and painting with Hillcrest Educational Centers; and cleanups with Housatonic River Walk, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires Camp Russell and West Stockbridge Historical Society.


Nonprofit winners

Front row, Berkshire Nonprofit AwardS Winners: Mark Lefenfeld & Jay Weintraub (Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires), Kelly Akoman (Moments House), Kristine Hazzard (Berkshire United Way), June Wolfe (Construct, Inc.), Carole Siegel (OLLI & Berkshire Children & Families), Amy Guachione (Berkshire Children & Families).
Back row:  Elizabeth Stone (NPC), Leigh Davis, Melissa Lydon (NPC Board), Fred Rutberg (The Berkshire Eagle), Liana Toscanini (NPC), Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli. (Photo by Richard Migot)E

The winners of the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards were announced May 22 breakfast presentation and celebration at Country Club of Pittsfield. A sold-out crowd of 240 honored 21 finalists, with emcee Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli presiding.  Hosted by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, this inaugural event paid tribute to the nonprofit sector’s employees and volunteers for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the Berkshire community.

In April, a panel of judges reviewed more than 60 nominations and chose three finalists and one winner in each of seven categories. The winners are: Kristine Hazzard of Berkshire United Way (Executive Leadership), James Mahon of Berkshire Food Project (Board Leadership), June Wolfe of Construct, Inc. (Super Staffer), Jay Weintraub and Mark Lefenfeld of Backyard Bounty of the Berkshires (Rising Star), Amy Guachione of Berkshire Children & Families (Volunteer), Kelly Akroman of Moments House (Unsung Hero), and Carole Siegel of OLLI and Berkshire Children and Families (Lifetime Achievement).

Berkshire Nonprofit Award winners received a framed poster featuring a representation of themselves on the cover of an imaginary “Berkshire Nonprofit PEOPLE” magazine, a Citation from the Commonwealth signed by Sen. Adam Hinds, and a Blue Q tote bag sporting the expression "Living the Dream."


Visioning workshop

The city of North Adams will host a free workshop for city storefront business owners on Monday, June 11. The program, presented by Christine Moynihan of Retail Visioning, is funded through a grant awarded to the city by the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative.

Moynihan's workshop, "Retail Best Practices – The Power of Presentation," will provide business owners with ideas, training, and best practices in the areas of business identity and positioning; store and restaurant design; visual merchandising; and retail marketing. Moynihan, formerly a vice president with a national footwear brand and a longtime retail consultant, will share tips, tools, trends and tricks of the trade.  She also will address specific questions from business owners. In addition, every workshop participant will receive a copy of Moynihan’s booklet, "A Retailer’s Gut Check; A Self-Assessment Guide for Small Business."

The June 11 workshop will be held at The Green, located at 87 Main St., North Adams. The program will run from 8 to 10 a.m. with a coffee and networking session beginning at 7:30 a.m. To register, contact Larysa Bernstein, director of Community Development, via email or by phone at 413-662-3025. Registration is not required; however, all store owners and restaurateurs in the area are being invited, so seating may be limited.


Thank a teacher

In recognition of National Teacher Day in early May, Steepleview Realty and many local businesses join together to provide a special gift of thanks to local teachers. In 1953, the 81st Congress proclaimed National Teacher Day, which is now celebrated the first full week of May each year.

Steepleview Realty in conjunction with Academy Mortgage, Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Lee Bank and Village Mortgage all came together and filled reusable shopping bags with loads of classroom needs. More than 300 bags were distributed to teachers in area schools in Williamstown, North Adams, Adams and Pittsfield.


Excellent news

The Hilton Garden Inn Lenox Pittsfield has received a 2018 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Now in its eighth year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have consistently delivered a quality customer experience and earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year.

The Certificate of Excellence considers the quality, quantity and most recent reviews submitted by travelers from around the globe on TripAdvisor. In addition to positive online guest reviews, hotels must have maintained an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have had a minimum number of reviews, and have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

The hotel features spacious and contemporary accommodations, on-site dining options for cooked-to-order breakfast and dinner, and as well as a full-service ba. In addition, flexible meeting spaces, free Wi-Fi and numerous other amenities create an experience that allows guests to feel sunny and satisfied, starting with the first hello when they arrive.

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